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With a distinguished career spanning over 50 years, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian is at the forefront of contemporary Iranian art. Farmanfarmaian spent nearly a decade living in New York during the 1940s and 1950s as an art student and later as a fashion illustrator for the department store Bonwit Teller, where she worked alongside Andy Warhol. She returned to Iran in the 1960s where she quickly established herself as an artist, holding major exhibitions in Tehran, Paris, Venice and New York. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, she took refuge in New York, but returned to Tehran in 2000 where she continues to work today.

Her distinctive aesthetic developed in the late 1960s and 1970s, rooted in a strong passion for her Iranian heritage. During this time, she studied the arts, crafts, customs and rituals of nomadic tribes in the region, and toured ancient cities where she was impressed by their architectural forms and intricate ornamentation. Her work illustrates a commitment to these traditional Persian techniques and patterns, combining mirror mosaics, Islamic geometric patterns and reverse-glass paintings to create works that resonate both with traditional forms and a more modernist aesthetic.

To create her three-dimensional panels, Farmanfarmaian employs master craftsmen to draft her initial designs. Mirrors are then cut to fit the required shape, set in geometrical patterns, and mixed with stucco to produce new compositions that allow the artist to integrate colored glass. The resulting works are complex geometrical patterns that reference a range of influences in Islamic art, architecture, and science.
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Photo by Curtis Hamilton